The Wizard of Oz

by Robert Baird

We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto - Dorothy

Try to imagine being transported to a world full of witches, wizards and "munchkins." This is the story of Dorothy and her dog Toto who end up in the land of Oz, make new and strange friends, and have numerous adventures. Along the way they discover the meaning of courage, friendship, and love.

This Study Guide is a reference for teachers and includes a variety of investigations and activities.

INSTRUCTIONAL FOCUS: This Study Guide is aligned with Curriculum Expectations in reading and writing, theatre, visual arts and geography. It was written with the Ontario Ministry of Education Curriculum Expectations in mind, but is widely applicable.

Curriculum Expectations


• students will begin to use stories, plays, and poems to explore real and imaginary situations
• students will further develop their sense of audience
• students will use research skills to expand their understanding of different kinds of problems and to help them find solutions
• students will refine their ability to evaluate the quality of performances by reviewing theatrical performances

Language Arts

• students will, through discussion and brainstorming, generate ideas for writing
• students will select a topic and determine the purpose for writing and the audience to be addressed
• students will draw up a writing plan (e.g., outline, diagram, story map)
• students will communicate ideas and information for a variety of purposes (to evaluate information, to compare points of view) and to specific audiences, using forms appropriate for their purpose
• students will use writing for various purposes and in a range of contexts, including school work (e.g., to write technical instructions, to clarify personal concerns, to explore social issues, to develop imaginative abilities)
• students will organize information and ideas creatively as well as logically, using paragraph structures appropriate for their purpose (e.g., paragraphs structured to develop a comparison or establish a cause-and-effect relationship)
• students will read for particular purposes, some determined by the teacher and some by the student (e.g., for information, enjoyment, practice, vocabulary building)
• students will use a range of reading strategies to understand what they read (e.g., use previous knowledge and experience of the topic and vocabulary; use familiar words and the context to understand unfamiliar words; reread; predict what may happen in a story, and confirm or revise predictions; use phonics and root words to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words; use pictures and illustrations; make inferences; record key points; skim text for specific details; scan written material to determine its purpose)
• students will examine the ideas critically (e.g., distinguish between fact and opinion; use other resources to verify facts)
• students will summarize and explain the main ideas and cite supporting details, draw conclusions, retell the story, or apply what they have read (e.g., follow a set of instructions)

Social Studies

• students will develop the skills, strategies, and habits of mind required for effective inquiry and communication, and for the application of the basic concepts of social studies, history, and geography to a variety of learning tasks

Visual Arts

• students will learn to use a variety of art tools, materials, and techniques, and will identify elements of design and begin to describe how the elements are used by artists
• students will describe and demonstrate how the elements can be used to create works of art to communicate thoughts and feelings
• students will begin to develop the ability to communicate about their immediate environment and interests through visual images

Theatre Information

Theatre Etiquette

1. Food, drinks, candy and chewing gum are not permitted in the theatre.
2. Talking, whispering, singing or humming is not allowed.
3. Be attentive to what is going on stage.
4. Do not distract other audience members with bad behaviour.
5. Feet must remain on the floor.
6. Show your appreciation with applause, but no shouting or whistling.

Theatre Terms

Downstage: The area of the stage nearest the audience.
House: The part of the theatre where the audience sits. This also refers to the audience itself.
Houselights: The lights in the house, usually dimmed just as the performance is about to begin.
Props: Small items used by the actors on stage.
Spotlight: A bright light which focuses on one actor or a small group of actors.
Stage Left: That part of the stage on the actors' left hand.
Stage Right: That part of the stage on the actors' right hand.
Upstage: That part of the stage farthest from the audience.
Wings: Areas of the stage to the right and left of the main acting area.

Additional link: Complete glossary of theatre terms


A. Find out about L. Frank Baum:

Like the characters he created - Dorothy, the Tin Woodman, the Scarecrow, and others - L. Frank Baum traveled a long road to reach his goals. Along the way, he encountered physical illness, bankruptcy, rejection and failure. However, like any hero, he triumphed in the end. Today, audiences still read and enjoy his fairy tales, proving L. Frank Baum to be a master of storytelling.

(Taken from Classic Authors: L. Frank Baum by Susan Jensen.)

B. Read the first chapter out loud:

C. Locate Kansas on a map of the United States:

D. Investigate Musical Theatre:

According to John Kendrick, the best musicals have three essential qualities:

• Brains - intelligence and style
• Heart - genuine and believable emotion
• Courage - the guts to do something creative and exciting.
(And you thought The Wizard of Oz was just a children's flick?) Discuss the characters in The Wizard of Oz in relation to these three qualities.

Post-Show Activities

A. Review the three essential qualities of a musical. How do the characters in The Wizard of Oz obtain these qualities? Did they start out with them? Trace the development of their characters in obtaining these qualities.
B. Create a Travel Brochure, Map or Poster featuring the Land of Oz.
C. Make an Events Sequence Chart of the Plot of The Wizard of Oz. What happened in the staged version you saw?
D. Watch the movie version of The Wizard of Oz. Notice when the movie changes from black and white to colour.

More Fun Activities